Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Foreign firms interested in Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA in LOS ANGELES

About half of the foreign companies surveyed at investment fairs in Taiwan last year were interested in the country’s cultural and creative industries, Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) said on Monday.

The result was an indication of the potential of the nation’s cultural and creative industries, which would be targeted by the government for development, Liu said in an address to directors of financial firms in Los Angeles.

The government plans to hold investment fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major US cities from March 20 to March 25, Liu said.

The fairs will focus on attracting investments in the areas of green energy, smart electric cars, bio-technology, international medical services and smart handheld devices, she said.

In the survey of foreign businesses, which was conducted at five investment fairs nationwide, nearly half of the 2,000 respondents said they had a keen interest in Taiwan’s creative industries, she said.

Liu said domestic demand and consumption were gradually overtaking exports as the main driving force behind the nation’s economic development.

Only by sustaining growth in exports as well as domestic demand during the next few years can the economic growth be felt throughout the country, she said.

Addressing the criticism that the benefits of the nation’s 10.47 percent economic growth rate last year had not reached the majority of the population, Liu responded by saying consumer confidence is gradually improving.

This is evident in the fact that many businesses gave higher bonuses at the end of last year and have increased hiring and wages this year, she said.

Furthermore, spending at department stores rose during the Lunar New Year holiday, she said, adding that the public would soon be able to feel the benefits of the country’s economic growth.

Liu was also optimistic about the outlook for the economy.

The nation is the only one of the Four Asian Tigers — as Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea and Taiwan are known — that has a steadily increasing economic growth forecast for the next five years, she said, citing IMF data.

The council is planning a policy that will map out the distribution and development of industries in the nation for the next decade and allow different regions to focus on the development of specific industries.

The council is expected to complete the plan by August.

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